Title: Messenger of Fear
Author: Michael Grant
Hardcover: 272 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Summary (From the back of book):
He is the messenger.
He offers you a game.
Pay or play
“Who are you?”
That was the first question I asked the boy in front of me. The pale, solemn young man in the black coat with small silver skulls for buttons.
But he didn’t answer it. Instead he answered the question I never asked, but which was nevertheless what I really wanted to know.
Am I dead?
No. Not dead, he told me.
But surely not quite alive either. How could I be? I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, still shuddering at the memory of the creeping yellow mist that had awoken me in that strange, silent land, I could recall nothing else about myself.
And then the games began.
I don’t even know where to begin with this book.
To be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure whether I liked it or not.
The main thing is just how…creepy the entire thing is. The entire concept is foreign to me and I’m not entirely sure it was necessary to write.
That being said, the writing style was beautiful. And I don’t say that very often. From the first few pages, the writing just captivated me (which may be why I made it through the entire book.) Just, look:
(The mist) found its insinuating way under rough denim and seeped, almost like a liquid, along bare skin. Fingerless, it touched me. Eyeless, it gazed at me. It heard the beating of my heart and swept in and out of my mouth with each quick and shallow breath.
And that’s from the first page.
However, it just doesn’t fit the main character, Mara. Yes, I get that she likes writing, but I highly doubt that those thoughts were what went through her head. Whilst the book was written entirely from her perspective, I’m still not entirely sure what she’s like as a person. As a character, she did mature and grow especially in her decisiveness about the sentencing of other people.
That leads on to the other ‘main’ character – The Messenger. The mysterious, brooding messenger with chalk white skin and black hair and skull buttons and wearing entirely black. (And yes, there’s even a scene with him shirtless, in which Mara can appreciate his body. *sighs*.) He’s from a long line of brooding characters and it gets really old, really fast.
Oriax. I still have no idea why she was included, aside from to conveniently persuade Derek to not play the game and give Mara her first taste of The Piercing. (By the way, if you dislike REALLY graphic descriptions of the heart and blood, skip a few pages.)
What. The. Heck. Is. He.
The book deals with some pretty heavy topics, like suicide, bullying and homophobia. They are all treated with respect and I can deal with that. It’s good to see them properly represented and dealt with in a manner that people can relate too, as well as seeing both sides of the story in a given situation.
That being said, the plot twist at the end wasn’t a huge shocker (although, I must admit, I didn’t see it coming) and felt very anticlimactic.
In all, I think that I’m most annoyed about how misleading the blurb on the book is. To me, it was selling a fast-paced action book, maybe a little like the Hunger Games. What I got was a slower mystery novel that was okay but not on the level that I have come to expect from Michael Grant.
Anyone else feeling slightly let down by this book?